After Beatrice

i

The rose beds I recalled 
had gone - instead
you could discern
their remnant outlines,
verdant and sad
as unmarked graves.


ii

Not knowing what to do
I rested here, among 
the bees and daisies
woven in the grass;
until the afternoon
was long in tooth.


iii

Venus had veered south
when I was roused,
to find a figure
standing by my side.
She asked if I was ready?
- Yes, I lied.


iv

We passed two gold
snakes copulating
in the dust
and a solemn poet
who transcribed 
their coded marks.


v

At the entrance
we advanced
- not down or up -
to isolation cells,
secular stations
of the soul.


vi

Red buds amassed
and gently bled,
like bleeding hearts
on arching stems:
These, I was told
were manifold regrets.


vii

Suffocating in
a wave of flies
and blue polluted skies,
my strange companion 
assured me - smiling
wryly - I'd survive.


viii 

Guilt bloomed like 
a carcass in the sun,
soft with decay
not tenderness - 
a corruption of
forgotten innocence.


ix

From love I come
to love I go..
what did I do with it;
where did I bury it?
In the rose garden
all secrets are safe.


x

My love is sweet
as rowan berries
after the first frost;
but there is no way
in or out, not until 
you believe in one.

Happy National Poetry Day 2021. This poem was originally published in Obsessed With Pipework, and it can be found in my first collection ‘Wish’. It was inspired by Dante Alighieri’s figure of Beatrice, and his work, ‘La Vita Nuova.’ Thanks for reading.

Ashes (first pub. by Algebra Of Owls, and in my collection Wish)

The Ash is common enough –
with keys the wind misplaces
and in winter, velvet leaf buds
that recall those long

black gloves I wore,
to trace your trembling
outline – neck to hip
and down a little more.

Its fissured bark is
a history of cuts, as if
the past can be sloughed
like a worn out coat.

As green leaves fell
I glimpsed a woman
in the golden copse,
or maybe a hare.
:
:
:
:
:
:

First published by Algebra Of Owls 2018

The Myth of Time in Utopia – pub. in The Utopia Project Issue One

Flowers are the sexual organs
of 360, 000 species of plants
you read, and went outside
with torch and table salt;
to hunt pale slugs that hide
in velvet beds of sky-at-nights.

The proper name for one
that is intersexed and so
needs nothing, is ‘perfect’,
you whispered in the dark;
as night creatures laboured
and flies rested undisturbed.

Finally, you went to bed
– a thin veil of salt dust
masking the acrid musk
of your untouchable skin –
between a spike in the wind
and spit of cuckoo pint.

Far From Here (published in Poetry Salzburg Review, Issue 35 Summer 2020)

Don’t you ever feel like
walking to the day’s end,
then curling up inside
a ditch or doorway;
till dawn kicks you
in the ribs and
moves you on again?

The sky looks up
with a beatific gaze,
but there’s no miracle.
An evanescent road
pools in the heat –
too far to call
even for swifts,
that populate dusk
with their screeches.

I will return to those
strange arches where
perpetual rain falls;
choose a happier door.
Dear friend, if you
have ever loved me
tell me now –

be here, somehow.

After Beatrice (verses i-iii, vi & X. First pub. by Obsessed With Pipework #86)

i

The rose beds
I recalled had gone –
instead you could discern
their remnant outlines;
verdant and sad
as unmarked graves.

ii
Not knowing what to do
I rested here, among
the bees and daisies
woven in the grass;
until the afternoon
was long in tooth.

iii
Venus had veered south
when I was roused,
to find a figure
standing by my side.
She asked if I was ready
– Yes, I lied.

vi
Red buds amassed
and gently bled,
like bleeding hearts
on arching stems:
These, I was told
were manifold regrets.

x
My love is sweet
as rowan berries
after the first frost;
but there is no way
in or out, until
you believe in one.

The full poem is also available to read in my pamphlet, Wish (Maytree Press)